October 1, 1926 – July 05, 2018
It is with sadness that the family announce the passing of Elmars Irbe on July 05, 2018 at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni.
Elmar was predeceased by his wife Patricia Nadine; he is survived by April & Horst Krupek, Krista & John Albert, Kevin & Sandra Watts and Craig Ambrose.
Born October 1, 1926 in Riga, Latvia; Elmar was the only child of a refrigeration mechanic and a seamstress. He was apprenticing as a fine instrument mechanic when the Russian Army invaded, and he was conscripted at 17 years of age to fight. His job (as a short, scrappy fellow) was to go ahead of the troops and lay telephone wire for communications. When the war ended Elmar discovered there were no survivors where his home had been, so elected to come to Canada. He received a ticket in exchange for a year’s work on the railroad. That work brought him to Port Alberni and he never left, often stating that it was a great place to live. He became a Canadian citizen in 1984.
Elmar eventually obtained employment at the Somass Sawmill and it did not take him long to earn a Millwright’s Ticket, which saw him through to his retirement at age 61.
A favorite pastime was to have a “cool one” with the boys at the Kingsway or to “jump out of planes”.. Skydiving became a passion with his good friend Gerry Watts and he soon got a Pilot’s License and bought a small plane to get more airtime.
Through Gerry, Elmar met Nadine Joseph, whom he later married; she was the love of his life until her passing many years ago. After Nadine had a stroke, Elmar crafted lifts over the tub and at the front steps to allow him to care for her, wheelchair and all, at home for the remainder of her life.
The final four years of Elmars life were spent in the home of April & Horst Krupek, in order to receive a little extra care as his independent spirit balked at institutionalized care. Although he had lost his hearing and most of eyesight, he still wanted to eat, drink and sleep when he chose to and to wash his own dishes, to make his coffee or tea or have a snack when he wanted it.
Elmar will be greatly missed but truly we have all been blessed to share time with such a kind, funny and generous man. He will have joined his precious Nadine and we are certain they are enjoying a “cool one”!!
Rest in Peace Elmar.
No service by request.